The Urban Outdoors:
At Blogger Hill


For all the prediction of lousy weather — and the lousy weather that we had yesterday — this afternoon was glorious, and Central Park was a wonderful place to be.

The temperature was just right (in the shade, anyway), and there was a lovely breeze. In short, it was just as nice out as it was the last two times that I joined the gang of gay bloggers that collects from time to time on what some call Blogger Hill and others call Bear Hill. It’s in the middle of the lower half of the park, not far from the Naumburg Band Shell. Father Tony very kindly asked me to come, and, as I did last year, I had lunch with the ganome first. Last year, my intent was to show my Boston friend the way from the Museum to the hill, but, having gotten both of us very lost, I was only to happy to sit down for a while when we finally found Joe and company. This year, at least, I knew where we were going.

It is so unusual for me to be out and about on a Saturday afternoon that I was a tad overwhelmed. I’m far more used to much-smaller weekday crowds. On Thursday, for example, I crossed the Park twice (again, it was a sunny day) without encountering more than a hundred people. Today, there were thousands in every direction. The capacious Park holds thousands easily, but as the sort of person who likes to imagine where people come from and where they’re going, I get dizzy fast. Listening to the babel of languages becomes overstimulating — I want to know everybody’s story. As big as I am, I feel strangely invisible, and yet no less an outsider, a visitor from afar, than anyone else. On the weekends, for some reason, I’m aware that, even though Central Park is only six or seven blocks from home, they’re very long blocks, and intervening Park and Fifth Avenues are not in my neighborhood. And it’s one thing to walk through Central Park on the way to the other side of town, but quite another to hang out there.

In any case, I always feel rather lonely when I head home from Blogger Hill. “Lonely” is perhaps overstating it, but not by as much as “alone” understates it. This is very strange, because I am usually by myelf when I’m out and about — in fact, I spend most of my time alone — and it doesn’t bother me in the least. Maybe it’s that, on a weekend, being solitary, at least in Central Park, is exceptional: everyone seems to be with someone else — usually with a large family group. More likely, it’s leaving the gang of bloggers, which, by the time I head off— it’s my signal to go, really — has broken up into small groups of people who are catching up on people I don’t know and stories that don’t really concern me. I slip into my coach while it’s still a coach, but by the time I cross the Mall it has gone a bit pumpkinish.

But I was wearing comfortable shoes, and in no time at all I was back in Yorkville, where I really am alone for the evening. Kathleen and LXIV are seeing Dangerous Liaisons. Neither Fossil Darling nor I wanted to see that show again (we saw it when it was new, twenty years ago), so our better halves struck off on their own. I’m usually open to the idea of adapting novels for the stage and screen, but Choderlos de Laclos’s Les liaisons dangereuses is an exception.

One Response to “The Urban Outdoors:
At Blogger Hill”

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